April 12, 2014

"Nothing then is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man."

Can one generation bind another, and all others, in succession forever?

I think not. The Creator has made the earth for the living, not the dead. Rights and powers can only belong to persons, not to things, not to mere matter, unendowed with will. The dead are not even things. The particles of matter which composed their bodies, make part now of the bodies of other animals, vegetables, or minerals, of a thousand forms. To what then are attached the rights and powers they held while in the form of men? A generation may bind itself as long as its majority continues in life; when that has disappeared, another majority is in place, holds all the rights and powers their predecessors once held, and may change their laws and institutions to suit themselves. Nothing then is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man.

– Thomas Jefferson, letter to Maj. John Cartwright, June 5, 1824

Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes — our ancestors.

It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking around.

– G.K. Chesterton

Posted by gerardvanderleun at April 12, 2014 6:36 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Edmund Burke

All the pleasing illusions, which made power gentle and obedience liberal, which harmonized the different shades of life, and which, by a bland assimilation, incorporated into politics the sentiments which beautify and soften private society, are to be dissolved by this new conquering empire of light and reason. All the decent drapery of life is to be rudely torn off. All the superadded ideas, furnished from the wardrobe of a moral imagination which the heart owns, and the understanding ratifies, as necessary to cover the defects of our naked, shivering nature, and to raise it to dignity in our own estimation, are to be exploded as a ridiculous, absurd, and antiquated fashion.


People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors.
Thus, by preserving the organic method of nature in the conduct of the state, in what we improve we are never wholly new; in what we retain we are never wholly obsolete.

A nation is not only an idea of local extent, and individual momentary aggregation; but it is an idea of continuity...And this is a choice not of one day, or one set of people...it is a deliberate election of ages and generations; it is a constitution made by what is a thousand times better than choice, it is made by the peculiar circumstances, occasions, tempers, dispositions, and moral, civil, and social habitudes of the people, which disclose themselves only in a long space of time. Nor is prescription of government formed upon bland, unmeaning prejudices–for man is a most unwise and most wise being. The individual is foolish; the multitude, for the moment, is foolish, when they act without deliberation; but the species is wise, and, when time is given to it, as a species always acts right.

(Society) is indeed a contract...to be looked upon with other reverence; because it is not a partnership in things subservient only to the total animal existence of a temporary and perishable nature. It is a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are dead, and those who are to be born. Each contract of each particular state is but a clause in the great primeval contract of eternal society, linking the lower with the higher natures, connecting the visible and invisible world, according to a fixed compact sanctioned by the inviolable oath which holds all physical and all moral natures, each in their appointed place.

Posted by: james wilson at April 12, 2014 9:16 PM

Tell it to the IRS, now busily seizing money from the children and grandchildren of alleged debtors.

Posted by: raincityjazz at April 13, 2014 10:33 AM

" Nothing then is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man."

That's the crux of the matter, isn't it? Jefferson also talked about the need to keep those rights by whatever means necessary.

All the other stuff, it comes and goes like a hula hoop. Each generation, nay, each decade has its own next best thing and there is a pendulum swing. When I got to the mature age of eighteen (1964) I swore I'd never be like my folks. Of course my decade, the 60s, is said to be the major paradigm shift of the century. At least that's what the apologists and detractors say. (I'd like to think the Great Depression, two world wars, the advent of nuclear weapons, integration and other events had something to do with "the future" but what do I know? But check it out. Some of you readers are more astute than I; each new wave throws down the "old ways" and brings in their own. By the time they get all comfy with it along comes the next new wave. Oh boy, drifting. Each new group tends toward the opposite of the one in place. What I find amusing is all those peace, love, and groovy hippies that didn't want to give in to "the Man", well, bub, they became "the Man"

You reap just what you sow says it for me.

Oh, and this: Conservative values. Class Warfare is for dope-smoking commies. Stand on your own. No leeching. No whining. Fuck the hippies. Hanify

Posted by: chasmatic at April 13, 2014 12:55 PM

The larger quote by Chesterton is worth noting:

"I have never been able to understand where people got the idea that democracy was in some way opposed to tradition. It is obvious that tradition is only democracy extended through time. It is trusting to a consensus of human voices rather than to some isolated or arbitrary record. The man who quotes some German historian against the tradition of the Catholic Church, for instance, is strictly appealing to aristocracy. He is appealing to the superiority of one expert against the awful authority of a mob. It is quite easy to see why a legend is treated, and ought to be treated, more respectfully than a book of history. The legend is generally made by a majority of people in the village, who are sane. The book is generally written by the one man in the village who is mad. . . . Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes – our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man's opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition asks us not to neglect a good man's opinion, even if he is our father." --G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Posted by: Darkwater at April 13, 2014 10:08 PM

Chasmatic, I'll bite. What/who is/was "Hanify"?

Posted by: Daniel K Day at April 14, 2014 7:59 AM

Sean Hannity. Conservative blowhard who is an example of the caution--beware the barrenness of a busy life.

Posted by: james wilson at April 14, 2014 10:30 AM

And yet, the Left ALWAYS seeks to destroy history, and memory.
"Disappear down the memory hole", as the saying went.
The Soviet propagandists were famously not afraid of the future (it will be Red!), but of the past, because it was constantly being changed.

Destruction of the past is part of the purpose of making the world a Hobbesian wilderness of every man against another.

"Fundamentally change America...."
What did that really mean?

Posted by: David at April 14, 2014 8:04 PM

james Wilson: not correct, check spelling Hanify

Daniel K: Bruce Hanify ran a blog a few years ago, the "Washington Rebel" now gone. A forks WA guy, he had Morgan Freeman, Colonel Bunny, I think Rob De Witt contributed ( you hear, Rob, am I right?)

I think Gerard might know the guy, or has seen the blog. it got intense, went super-nova so to speak.

This is an entry on the sideblog posted by Gerard Vanderleun at May 13, 2012 11:43 AM.:

http://www.brucehanify.com/define-drug-a-drug-warriors-thoughts-on-the-45-year-old-war-on-drugs/

Posted by: chasmatic at April 15, 2014 9:01 PM

james Wilson: incorrect. Check spelling Hanify.


Daniel: I posted a reply but I think Gerard's spambots snagged it.

Bruce Hanify ran a blog, The Washington Rebel, a few years ago. it was a high energy blog that imploded and is long gone.

This is an entry on the sideblog Posted by gerardvanderleun at May 13, 2012 11:43 AM.

May 13, 2012

“There is no one answer.” [Bumped]

Posted by: chasmatic at April 16, 2014 12:57 AM